After all the noise for mother’s day has died down, let us take a moment to think of those mothers who did not have anyone to wish them on their special day–mothers who lost their sons especially to road rage. Yes! this past month, I have been particularly disturbed by accidents on the road that have claimed innocent lives particularly of promising and talented youth, bringing down the curtain abruptly on what could have been long, illustrious careers.
In the last 2 months, I have known at least 3 well known, prominent personalities who lost their lives in different parts of the country (India)–they were all below 30 and coincidentally all of them died due to a single cause–car accident. This brings our focus to the roads. We all know that Indian roads are not the best in the world and in many places, the signals do not work. The number of cars that ply each day have multiplied several times causing congestion and traffic snarls each morning as we try to make our way to work. But what is more alarming is that traffic rules are flouted like nobody’s business and safety rules are completely sidelined.
Those on bikes don’t care to wear helmets despite several banners on street corners warning them of the repercussion. Not just that, seat belts are ignored and worn only when cops are sighted at a distance. Sometimes, you feel that perhaps there is some award for overtaking and speeding, or that is how some people on the road make it seem. Those driving big cars automatically expect small cars to make way for them, otherwise they will honk the hell out of out and corner you, until you realize your mistake. Not to forgot are those urgent calls that HAVE TO BE answered while on the go.
And oh! what about revelers speeding past highways in the middle of the night, drunk and returning from a party? Each has the fanciest of cars, which have the best of technology but are they meant for the potholes in India, especially if you are on a speed beyond 150 mph? Who do you blame? The drivers themselves or the parents who allow their teenage sons to drive swanky expensive cars only to blame the manufacturers in the event of an accident. Drinking is fine, driving while drinking is fine too, driving through dark, ill-lighted roads in the middle of the night is also fine, its OK to blink for a second, hit the pillar and go whirling and come to a screeching halt after a couple of minutes. But what is not OK is that the air bags inside the car did not open under extreme heat and pressure–sue the manufacturer! Gosh!
All those Indians who travel and live abroad follow traffic rules, follow the lanes while driving, drive within speed limits, are wary of safety measures and drive with utmost care, because even over speeding or stopping at the wrong line can incur huge penalty. So, why can’t the same people follow rules in India, their own country? Why can’t men and women be more cautious about their own safety while on the road? Today it is not enough if you drive carefully, because the one behind you who might be in hurry, will not pause for a second, hit your car and just speed away. This is what we have come to now. Most people who were passionate about driving have accepted that they don’t enjoy driving anymore–it has become extremely stressful.
Why can’t we be more careful for the sake of those who are waiting for us back home? Why can’t we drive carefully with seat belts and helmets and reach (and allow others to reach) their destinations safely? Why can’t we invest on branded helmets that are durable to protect ourselves and those sitting behind us? After all, over-speeding causes nothing but accidents and is there any use being sorry once everything is lost? Let’s save lives on the roads. Let’s pledge to follow the rules and stay protected. It requires only patience and nothing more.
My heartfelt condolences to the families of Ashwin Sundar and his wife Niveditha (National level champion, Car Racing), Sonika Chauhan (Model and Anchor), Nishith Narayana (Director, Narayana Group of Schools) and his friend Kamani Raja Ravichandra who lost their lives on the road in the past 2 months. And to thousands of parents who have lost their children to road accidents in all these years.
Let us not be the next victim!